Parody accounts on social media are a problem in Malaysia and outside, according to Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek
The MCMC chairman was addressing the issue of social media accounts that use satire and humour to parody popular and more recognised platforms or individuals in the country.
"Parody accounts are not only a problem in Malaysia, these parody accounts are widespread both locally and abroad. Everything is the same," he was quoted as saying by national news agency Bernama.
Describing a parody account, Dr Fadhlullah said that such an account especially uses "Twitter with a name/brand or logo that is almost similar to a well-known body or organisation or dignitaries".
According to him, it is a "new trend in delivering false news, to mock, or insult".
He cited some examples of parody accounts in Malaysia
One of the parody accounts gave an example of is 'Bermana', a play on 'Bernama'.
Another such account he cited was 'MyJakim', which parodied the Islamic Development Department's (JAKIM) official Twitter account recently.
"As followers, they are not aware because when you look at the content, it is not only in the form of jokes but also confusing the public," the national news agency quoted Dr Fadhlullah as saying.
A Twitter user recently reported the account that parodied JAKIM for "crossing a line".
Following which, Religious Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri had called on JAKIM to take appropriate action against. The parody account has since been suspended.
The Bermana parody account, however, is still active
The account, with over 24,000 followers, was created in April this year.
On its updated Twitter bio, Bermana clarifies that it's a parody news source and has nothing to do or affiliated with the official Bernama.
It often satirises news based on a trending topic. One of its recent viral tweets is about Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin receiving contributions from the people.
Dr Fadhlullah, however, said it's okay as long as such accounts do not lie
"We are trying to use the approach of making our citizens to be morally conscious, that is, they can say what they like, but do not cheat. Freedom of speech, but not freedom to lie," the MCMC chairman said.
Meanwhile, in April this year, the Information Department issued a public service announcement, which defined news that is critical and "instils hatred towards the ruling government" as fake news: